Exterior of the Armenian church at Kars.

©Fat Jackey/Shutterstock


With its pastel-coloured stone buildings dating from the 19th-century Russian occupation, and its well-organised grid plan, Kars looks like a slice of Russia teleported to northeastern Anatolia. And the city's mix of influences – Kurdish, Azeri, Turkmen, Turkish and Russian – adds to its distinct feel. No wonder it provided the setting for Turkish author Orhan Pamuk's acclaimed novel Kar (Snow).

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